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Have your lips changed color to black or blue before? It may be due to lack of oxygen or an indication of serious illness

  Unlike the rest of your skin, which is made up of multiple cellular layers, your lips only have three to five layers. This makes the tissue thinner and more delicate and allows the colour from the underlying blood vessels to show through.

Have your lips changed color to black or blue before? It may be due to lack of oxygen or an indication of serious illness

The colour of your skin also plays a role in changing the colour of your lips. The lighter your skin tone, the lighter your lips and the more blood vessels appear.

People's lips can vary in colour and appearance depending on several factors, such as their natural skin colour, levels of exposure to sunlight, and their general health.

But lip discolouration can also be the result of a nutritional deficiency or an underlying medical condition, causing blue or pale lips or spots on the lips that warrant a trip to the doctor.

Have your lips changed color to black or blue before? It may be due to lack of oxygen or an indication of serious illness

 the various causes of lip discolouration, available treatments, and how to prevent them.

Reasons for changing the colour of the lips according to their colour

There are several possible causes for lip discolouration and each cause can cause your lips to turn a different colour. Here's what some of the colours or themes might indicate:

blue lips

Blood changes colour according to the presence of oxygen. Blood rich in oxygen is bright red, while blood with low levels of oxygen is dark red or purple, which appears through the skin and mucous membranes.

Poor circulation of oxygen in the blood can cause the skin to change colour to blue, which is medically called "cyanosis", which occurs when the level of oxygen in the blood drops below 85%, which affects the body and causes the tips of the fingers and toes as well as the lips to turn blue.

Lack of oxygen in the blood can also be caused by several conditions that affect the heart, circulatory system, and lungs. Possible causes include:

  • choking
  • heart failure
  • shock
  • A blood clot in the lungs
  • Blood poisoning 
  • Poisoning from toxins such as pesticides and nitrates
  • cold temperatures
white lips

White or pale lips are often accompanied by a general pallor that affects the face, the lining of the eyes, the inside of the mouth, and the nails.

This is usually caused by anaemia, which is a low red blood cell count, notes WebMD, a medical website. If the anaemia causes pallor or extreme whiteness of the lips, this requires immediate medical intervention.

Here are some reasons that may lead to anaemia and pallor of the lips:

  • Follow a diet low in iron. 
  • A diet low in vitamin B12 or folic acid. 
  • Blood loss from heavy menstrual periods. 
  • Intestinal bleeding. 

Other conditions that may cause pale or white lips to include:

  1. Low blood sugar. 
  2. Circulation problems. 
  3. chronic diseases. 
  4. Frostbite or cold bite disease. 
  5. Vitamin deficiency. 
  6. some medicine. 
black lips

Smoking can darken the colour of your lips and gums. The reason is that nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict and narrow, reducing blood flow and stripping the skin of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay healthy and supple.

Reduced blood flow and exposure to tar and nicotine can also darken the melanin in your lips and gums, causing your lips to turn black.

The second reason that may cause the lips to turn black is Addison's disease, which occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol, and sometimes aldosterone, causing hyperpigmentation of the skin and lips, making them appear dark or black on the inside and sometimes on the outside.

The appearance of spots on the lips

Lip colour change can also include the appearance of spots, whose causes range from harmless sunspots to spots that may be an indication and symptom of a health condition.

Possible causes of spots on the lips include:

  • Sunspots are dark spots that appear on the parts of the body that get the most sunlight, such as the face and hands. These spots can also form on the lips and range in colour from beige to dark brown. However, it is important to have any new spots on the lips checked because other conditions, such as skin cancer, can look the same.
  • Some medications, such as cytotoxic drugs used in cancer treatment, antipsychotic drugs, and others, can cause dark spots to appear on your lips.
  • Hyperpigmentation is also a cause of spots on the lips, and some people develop dark grey or brown spots on the skin and lips.
  • Luger Hunziker syndrome, a benign skin condition involving the oral cavity, especially the lower lip. This syndrome causes the appearance of brown or black spots on the lips ranging in size from 1 to 5 mm, according to Medical News Today, which deals with medical topics.
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, an inherited digestive disorder that may increase the risk of certain types of cancer. It can cause spots to appear on the lips and mouth, as well as the skin around the eyes, nose, hands and feet.
  • Sometimes, a dark spot on the lip can be a precancerous tumour, especially melanoma.
New spots that are irregularly shaped or coloured, rapidly increase in size, bleed, or have a scar-like appearance are cause for concern and should be evaluated by a doctor.

Lip discolouration treatment

Medical treatment for discoloured lips may include treating the underlying condition causing the discolouration of the lips. There are many other options, such as the following:

  1. Laser treatment. 
  2. Intense pulsed light (IPL). 
  3. Photodynamic therapy. 
  4. surgery. 
  5. Postural medical treatments. 

Is it possible to prevent lip discolouration?

Depending on the cause, discolouration of the lips can be prevented by using at-home skincare solutions, quitting smoking, reducing sun exposure, and using a lip balm that contains sunscreen.

It is also important to follow a diet rich in the vitamins and minerals that your body needs and to have regular check-ups to ensure that there is no deficiency or to take the necessary supplements.


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